NANDAA BHANDARI

The political class has played a cruel joke on Anna Hazare, it is now obvious. The craftily drafted alt39alt39alt39alt39resolutionalt39 or alt39alt39alt39alt39sense of the housealt39 is neither here nor there, everyb

ody who is conversant with the ways of parliamentary system knows. The maze of committees and petitions will ensure that the Jan Lokpal Bill will take its own time to materialise, in whatever form it is adopted by the standing committee of parliament under Abhishek Manu Singhavi.

The main challenge for the government was to defuse the situation. That has been done neatly by the Congress party, which was left alone to fend for itself in the two houses over the weekend.

Many aspects of the high political drama which preceded the calling off of Annaalt39 fast are slowly surfacing. Those hailing the role of Maharashtrian politicians are having second thoughts now about the whole rigmarole. The intentions of those who enthusiastically liaised with Anna will be questioned in the days to come when the Team Anna realises the riddle it has walked into. Already, the government has sent out indications that no time- frame will be predetermined for introducing a Lokpal Bill. Secondly, its provisions will be finalised on the floor of the house and not through discussions. This is as expected.

It is unlikely that these procedural details were not explained to Anna or those around him. Still, the victory was celebrated. The Congress bosses, especially Rahul Gandhi, must have been laughing at the whole stratagem.

The centre- stage of Annas movement is now occupied by Medha Patkar, who had been castigated in connection with an affidavit filed on behalf of the Narmada Bachao Andolan ( NBA). The supreme court took Patkar to task on Madhya Pradesh governmentalt39 plea to initiate perjury proceedings against the NGO for filing the false affidavit relating to acquisition of villages for Omkareswar dam project.

The Congress party and the Union government are bound to bring up the strictures against Patkar at an opportune time. Annas other associates like Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejarival, too, have been attacked repeatedly through cyberspace, challenging them to explain the various controversies surrounding them. Neither has made an satisfactory explanation.

Swami Agnivesh is already in wilderness for his alleged telephonic conversation with alt39alt39alt39alt39Kapilji,alt39 whose identity is to be established. Agnivesh has refused to cooperate with any investigation, citing his alt39alt39alt39alt39spiritualalt39 compulsions.

Those against the agitation did not spare even Anna. An old inquiry report against him was unearthed to defame him. Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari had to eat crow for his scurrilous remarks against Anna.

On its part, the Congress did not flinch in fielding former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh when all else failed. In reciprocation, Anna welcomed Deshmukhs mediation without any reservation. This has caused a flutter in the intellectual camp supporting Anna since Deshmukh is facing several cases, including the sensational Adarsh society land scam. The stickiest episode will begin to unfold as soon as parliament concludes its monsoon sitting on 9 September. Nomination of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav on the standing committee will negate its sanctity as both are at the centre of many alleged scandals.

When wily Maharashtra leader Sharad Pawar was consulted by the party leadership for advice, he suggested the name of Vilasrao Deshmukh to interact with Anna. Knowing the pitfalls very well, Pawar steered clear of the whole affair from day one. As the Congress party was in trouble and since the PM had accepted Pawars advice, Deshmukh was left with no choice but to don the mantle. He tried his best to extract an assurance from the government that the three main demands of Anna would be incorporated into the proposed bill.

However, all that the government agreed was to convey the sense of t

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